Monday, February 23, 2009

Pictures of Beautiful Girls (And One Handsome Gent)

We have been camera happy around here this weekend. We've been other kinds of happy, too, but the camera-happy is the easiest thing to demonstrate on this blog.

Cheyenne called me today, "Look, Mom, Rilla and I are so cute-- get your camera!" (I'm SURE she won't be vain.) Anyway, Rilla was very businesslike in her Carrhart overalls and industrial-strength teether, so it was soon a solo photo-op.

My favorite.

It's getting harder to get her to pose naturally-- she's getting into the fake smile phase. We were good and silly today, though, so they mostly worked.

This was one of the beautiful girls here this weekend.

Getting a kiss from a handsome little guy.

That little guy got around. Here he is with his buddy, Olivia.


With Rilla this happy in Tori's arms, I figured I'd do a group shot of all my five kids. (Sure, my mom may have given birth to two of them, but they're mine, too!)

Of course, Rilla was having none of it.

Sort of okay shot, with Rilla standing.

Girl With Computer.

Girl With Ridiculously Large Dimple.

Tori is in the not-smiling phase. Good thing she's so pretty.

This smile is almost genuine.

Tori's good at goofy faces, though!

Three good friends!

Tori kissing my baby.

Life is good when Cheyenne can be with Tori.

Rilla in a happy moment. (A quickly squelched happy moment, but it was fun while it lasted.)

Rilla in a not happy moment. "I don't care if I'm clutching a sock, I'm NOT going to be happy!"

Evan and Elliott are up at the Vaughans' right now. They went up yesterday afternoon-- Evan had an estimate to do for a possible bathroom re-model up that way. Elliott had a great time playing with Orianna and Lillian and getting to see Grandpa. Us girls couldn't go up since Cheyenne had school today. I was feeling very sorry for myself, stuck here without a husband, but it's gone fine. We were invited over to Smiths' last night for supper, so Cheyenne got to laugh at Andrew's "funny jokes." (I don't know what it is about 11-year olds-- Tori and Andrew are The Mostest in Cheyenne's eyes right now.)

Last night, since Evan was gone, Miss Procrastinator Extraordinaire decided to finally push a tooth through her little gums! A week shy of her first birthday, so she won't be a one-year old freak without a tooth. I had no idea why she kept waking up last night, but I felt something funny when I was spooning in her Ham and Pineapple Dinner at lunch today. Glad to finally see that little white tooth. I think Cheyenne was looking for the full blown tooth-- she was pretty disappointed in what she saw!

It has snowed about three feet here in the last four days, and I'm not even doing my normal exaggeration! Our neighbor came over and ran his snowblower in our driveway this evening-- I was wondering how I would get out of the driveway to take Cheyenne to school tomorrow. Today, I just gunned it over the ridge left by the snowplow. That will only work for so long, though!

I better get to bed before Rilla wakes up working on Tooth #2! I have a little red-haired girl waiting in my bed-- it's lonely in her room without Elliott! We're looking forward to our boys coming home tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Problems with Preemies

I read so much about preemies when Elliott was first born. One of the things I remember reading with a sinking heart was that, "Preemies often find it difficult to show or receive affection."

Cut to this morning, post bath, when we all piled back into Mommy and Daddy's king-size bed to get rid of the chills. Elliott crawled on top of Mommy and Cheyenne, reached his arms out to hug us both, and said, "I love you guys."

I think that's one preemie worry I can safely discard.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fabulous Red (Take THAT, Pottery Barn!)

Here is the finished (well, almost) kids' kitchen in all it's glory. Trust me, Pottery Barn only WISHES their kitchen was as well-built or interesting.

This "little" project has dominated our lives for the last week. Here, the kids got to play in the family room after Daddy moved some furniture and put down dropclothes for painting.

We saw a lot more of the entryway and stairwell than we normally do. Daddy had the child gate locked so little fingers didn't get into wet paint, so the kids sat on the stairs or stood by the gate a lot. Here, Rilla is making raspberry noises for the car she is holding, and clutching one of her favorite things in the world-- a little sock. She's not too choosy whether they're clean or dirty, Marilla's or Elliott's. I try not to let this gross me out.

Kind of cute, eh?

Here, Daddy starts the first coat.

Look at that, it IS Fabulous Red! (Name of the paint color.)

Almost done!

Unveiling today with the rather proud model. It isn't totally finished, but it was getting increasingly harder to tell the kids they couldn't play with it.

NOT a model face. He has the cutest little nose scrunch when he's saying "no" to a question. Of course, now that we all laugh at it, he really milks it. Most pictures of him doing The Face come out looking really deranged, but it is cute in real life.

Here is the fridge, with a freezer drawer compartment "just like Grandma's!" Evan is planning on building shelves on the door and a few internal shelves.

The stove, with adjustable oven racks, just in case you need to broil something. Evan is still searching for something that would look like realistic knobs, and he's planning on making burners.

The pot drawer under the stove.

The sink unit, with a drawer on one side. The other side has the sink and a false front on the cabinet. I'm getting a little jealous that the cabinets are more sturdy than the actual cabinets in my kitchen and they have an undermount sink and I don't!

The cabinets under the sink. The sink faucet is still in the developmental stages as well.

Finally playing with the beautiful kitchen!

Grandma and Grandpa are here! They are enroute from Florida back home, and the kids were sure excited to see them. Marilla didn't seem to remember them, but she's having lots of fun with them now.
Elliott catches up on his e-mail.

Oh, if anyone is interested, Evan will gladly sell you a kitchen. Figuring labor, the cost should only be around... umm, $1000? I think we will have to tap into a pricier demographic than the people we normally associate with!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I AM Martha Stewart

I am Martha Stewart today. And I have photographic proof. See my two gorgeously attired children sitting in a clean living room, quietly sharing markers as they draw creative pictures.

Wow, this sight was so unusual, I had to grab the camera. There are reasons for this picture, though.
  1. We had company come today (Rosemary and Eun Hui) so I tidied up the living room while the kids were still up instead of waiting until they went to bed.
  2. I am way too lazy to do wash for an outfit they wore for two hours, so I dressed them in their Wednesday night meeting clothes again this morning.
  3. My kids actually do just play together nicely occasionally!

Anyway, it's nice to take a picture when you aren't trying to crop out the mess in the background!

Since I had the new guest room in the basement all spiffied up today, I took pictures of that, too. If I had any brains, I could draw a floor plan in some computer program and put it on here, but I don't. The gist of it is, you go down the stairs and into the door of the room. Closet is on the left, mirror and bureau are straight ahead, queen bed to your right, and if you turn around, to the right of the queen bed is the twin bed. (I don't know why I'm feeling compelled to explain this-- either you don't care or you will come see it yourself someday.)

Here are the stairs leading up from the room into our entryway. Evan just put up the handrail today, notice the elegant "return" on the end. (My husband is amazing.)

The queen bed, with grumpy curly-head, and the foot of the twin bed off to the right. Those doors at the foot of the bed lead to the electrical panel and water shut-off. My husband framed a door in so it would look nicer than our old panel box and it would still be accessible. They are bi-fold doors, because when you open them, there is maybe one inch between the doors and the bottom of the bed. The nightstand beside the queen bed is one I stole out of Mom and Dad's basement-- it was the right price.

The twin bed is in a sort of alcove-- the heating ducts run above there, so Evan had to frame the ceiling lower there. I think it looks cozy. Evan built that little niche above it this week-- it uses dead space under our stairs, and it negates the need for a nightstand, since there isn't any room for a nightstand. In yet another example of my husband's brilliance, there is even an outlet in the back to plug in an alarm clock or phone charger. The niche is empty, though, until I get money and ambition to buy a lamp and such. If I invested in a lock for the door, I could sit on that bed, lean back against the down pillows, and read a book there for HOURS!

The desk to the left of the queen bed. I stole this item of furniture from Mom and Dad years ago. I think they've gotten over it by now. The chair was at a garage sale this summer for two dollars! (And I fixed the angle of the lampshade after I took this pictures.) The window there is big enough for someone to climb out if there was a fire, and there are stairs in the well outside so you could climb up to safety. I love the deep sill-- I've always wanted window sills large enough for plants. The two books stacked there are a dictionary and a dictionary-thesaurus. I love dictionaries.

The bureau my in-laws kindly refinished for me. If it had been left to my ambition, it would still be sitting in the garage, covered in dust and scratches. The mirror hanging above it was a clearance buy years ago-- it belonged to a bureau, but they got separated somehow, so the mirror was cheap!

Blurry baby, and the closet doors. The temptation (which I have already given in to) is to cram it full of storage. I am trying to get rid of stuff, though, so guests can have room to hang stuff in there. Evan built shelves in one half, which is where we store all our puzzles, and other STUFF.

I have been enjoying this week so much. Evan has had no work, which is bad financially, but wonderful otherwise! I could sure get used to having him around all day, and not just because he's available to change diapers, too! I think Elliott is going to have a meltdown when Daddy gets work again--yesterday, Evan went to take a civil service exam (for census worker) and Elliott was bound and determined that if I just let him go outside or out in the garage, he could find Daddy! Evan is building the kids a wooden kitchen. While I'm sure the purest of motives made him start this project (he wanted his kids to have a nice kitchen to play with), I think it has morphed into a burning desire to one-up Pottery Barn kid's retro kitchen. Considering the financial constraints (i.e. we have no money!) he's doing quite the job. Both Cheyenne and Elliott can play in the garage for hours while Evan works on it.
Evan heroically took the kids on errands today so I could vacuum the house uninterrupted. While it was very nice to be able to whizz around and get things accomplished, it also felt weird! I was so jumpy, I kept imagining I heard someone breaking in at our patio door. Considering I have stayed alone here at night with three small kids, I really don't know why I was that way today! I guess it's been so long that I've been alone in my house my psyche just didn't know how to handle it!

It is raining and snowing here, completely yucky weather. Despite having almost two weeks in which it got above freezing every day, we still have a lot of snow on the ground. I noticed some very uniform balls of snow on our deck today, and I could not figure out how they were formed. Then I realized it was reverse footprints-- where Cheyenne had walked, a month ago, the snow had compacted and formed a denser, icier part. That icy ball is more resistant to melting than the snow around it, so there is a line of balls tracing wherever Cheyenne walked!
I have been updating Cody's blog every day, uploading pictures from a CD he sent me. He is in Mississippi now, pretty impressive! I desperately want to be there when he gets finished, but I know it doesn't make sense to drag three kids down there. Guess I'll just live vicariously through his pictures! For those interested in following his story, I write a blog for him at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Family Game Night

Last night was family game night. I'm usually not organized enough (or an interesting enough mother) to specifically plan a game night, but this was in lieu of Cheyenne going to the fire station tonight to watch a movie. Since the biggest excitement about the firehouse event seemed to be the popcorn and juice, I told her we could have A Family Game Night with popcorn and juice, too!

We have pretty slim pickings for kids' games. Thankfully, Cheyenne had got Sequence Junior for a birthday present two years ago. (Thanks, Smiths!) Even though Elliott didn't have a clue why we were putting tokens on the animals, he at least could enjoy picking a card, finding the animal, and putting his token on the board.

Here's me, full of joie de vivre.

In pajamas. The plan had been for Elliott to go to bed, and Cheyenne (who had taken a nap that afternoon in preperation for the festivities) to play games with us, but Elliott got into the spirit, so we didn't have the heart to send him off to bed.

In a rather pathetic attempt to up the number of "games" we had to play, Evan and Cheyenne played Rock, Paper, Scissors. Cheyenne always waits to see what the other person does before she throws her choice. She's remarkably sucessful.

The glee of being able to cut Daddy's paper. (And the orange mustache that results when Game Night gets moved from Saturday to Friday and Mommy realizes she doesn't have any juice in the house so she calls Daddy and has him buy an orange soda at the convenience store.)

We also had Memory, which Elliott was suprisingly good at. Evan helped a bit, but most of the stack in front of Elliott is because he'd remember where the cards were.

Here is Elliott's attempt to give himself "thumbs up" for winning Memory.

For our final game, we played Uno, where Evan and I cheated. A lot. I hate people cheating at games, but at this point, Cheyenne doesn't even now that it's not acceptable practice to look at everyone's hands. Of course, we weren't trying to cheat to win-- we were cheating so that Cheyenne would win, preferably before 7 hours had elapsed.

Much as I had planned the night for Cheyenne's sake, it was fun. We even bought Chutes and Ladders at Wal-Mart today for our next Game Night!